What does a young Kiwi lad, too young to qualify for a full operator’s license to drive cars on the roads of New Zealand do in order to satisfy the need, the need for speed?
He gets a seat in Formula 1, that is what.
Liam Lawson is just 16 and may have designs on scribing his name alongside that of Scott Dixon, the New Zealander with his name of the Indianapolis 500 trophy five times.
Lawson is currently driving in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series (TRS). His most recent exploit was to cruise to an easy victory in the first race of the series, a series that features a lineup of highly competent professional drivers. The series features all 15 drivers in identically prepared Toyota cars, where the only hope of any early exit is to crash out.
“I really can’t believe what happened on the weekend,” Lawson told reporters, speaking about his combined margin of 16 seconds in winning the two opening races. He wanted to compete last year, but TRS said sorry, too young.
Other Kiwis to have competed in the series that have gone on to gain F1 seats include Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat, Brendon Hartley and Lando Norris.
For his tender years, Lawson seems to have a firm grasp on the reality of racing and his goals. His goal at Highlands was to run in the top three and his aim for the next race is identical.
Since we invoked the name of Scott Dixon, we feel obligated to point out some differences between Indy and F1 cars.
Indy cars are faster on a straight line, but F1 cars have superior brakes, so an Indy car on a road course would be no match. F1 cars use conventional high-octane gasoline, while Indy cars run on ethanol.
Racing experts consider F1 cars a step up from Indy cars, so Lawson has his eyes on the top prize.